Pet Advisor Blog

Tibetan Mastiff – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Giant
Weight: 140 to 170 pounds
Height: 25 to 28 inches
Longevity: 15
Bark Tendency: High
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: Medium

Adopt a Tibetan Mastiff, Dog Breed Guide


The giant Tibetan Mastiff is a bigger than life dog breed! Literally for its size and also for having embedded itself into popular culture, especially in literature and on the big screen!

Did you know that the Tibetan Mastiff is the world’s most expensive dog breed? Just recently, a pair of Tibetan Mastiff dogs was sold for a whopping $3.2 Million!

The Tibetan Mastiff made its first debut in popular culture in the year 1972, showing up in the novel Treasure Mountain by Louis L’Amour. More than a decade later, the same author featured this giant breed from Tibet on another novel, the Haunted Mesa in 1987. By 1993, a Tibetan Mastiff was the central antagonist in the horror classic Man’s Best Friend. Years of having been depicted as somewhat horrific for its sheer size, the Tibetan Mastiff regained some honor in 2011 as it was the subject of an animated featured titled The Tibetan Dog.

Official Name

Tibetan Mastiff
In its native country of Tibet it is popularly called with its Lhasa dialect name, Do Khyi.


Date – as early as 1100 BC
Country – Tibet
Family / Group – Mastiff

Recognized By:
Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
Kennel Club of Great Britain
National Kennel Club
New Zealand Kennel Club
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
American Kennel Club
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.


Tibetan Mastiffs are dogs considered to be one of the most ancient mastiff breed still in existence today. They are guardian dogs that were initially bred in China but flourished in Tibet. Tibetan villages found these large dogs very useful in guarding and protecting their livestock, land and homes. Some dog experts believe that all modern mastiff breeds are linked, rooted and directly descended from these mastiffs from Tibet. In the year 1847, the first Tibetan Mastiff dog reached British shores when Queen Victoria received one as a gift.


They may be large and powerful dogs that are armed with a deep booming bark, but the Tibetan Mastiffs are dogs known to be reserved. These large dogs may be hard to imagine as cat-like, but they actually are. These dominant dogs are often stubborn and very independent-minded. Tibetan Mastiffs are guard dogs that will be very protective of their territory, livestock and family.

Bred For

Tibetan Mastiffs are ancient dogs that were used to guard livestock, property and their family. Although not recommended to use as a full time livestock guardian, these dogs will be ferocious towards intruders and will be brave and strong enough to go head to head against wolves, leopards and other large prey.


The Tibetan Mastiff can be kept as apartment pets even if they are massive in size. These dogs should be properly trained to be a well-behaved apartment dog.


Tibetan Mastiff requires regular grooming that is fairly easy to do. They are dogs that shed heavily once a year. These mastiff dogs are also recommended for people with allergies.


Tibetan Mastiff can be easily housebreak trained provided that their trainers are experienced teaching large and dominant dogs like these mastiffs. It is not advised for new dog owners to train these dogs themselves.


There are a lot of medical issues that commonly affects the Tibetan Mastiff. From ear infections, skin conditions, thyroid problems and hip dysplasia. These large dogs are also prone to acquire fatal genetic disorders known as the Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy


The Tibetan Mastiff is a large dog breed that should be taken on walks every day.